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Tuesday, 1 December 2015

FAVOURITE TRAILS 3 - FAITO (Conocchia ridge towards Molare)

The third of the trails favoured by Giovanni Visetti takes us to FAITO and precisely to the ridge of the Conocchia, walking from the slopes to the west of the cross eastwards to the old fallen-down antenna. Once again we are high up (for here) at over 1,300 MSL which will become 1443m. if you then extend your walk to include the Molare, the highest point of the Monti Lattari.  
This time, rather than keeping to  the official paths (marked in red on the map), it is well worth following the alternative trails marked by Giovanni in green, since these will give you the best views, even more so if you make the occasional short detour  to get to the most panoramic points, paying of course the utmost attention as you go.
The Conocchia can be reached from just about any point from the west, but the two outer routes are without a shadow of doubt the most scenic. Both dominate the tip of the Sorrento peninsula with Capri behind, but the more northerly path (Casa del Monaco - Conocchia) also has views of the Valle del Milo and Monte Cerasuolo, whilst the southern trail reveals the dramatic coastline between Positano and Praiano, just a couple of kilometres away, but over 1,300m below. 
If you follow the CAI trail along the edge of the beech forest, go a little southwards every now and then or walk up to the top of one of the small hills blocking the view. Once past the antenna and before going down the other side towards Acqua Santa, it is well worth extending your hike to the Molare. Even if you don't want to go to the very top, you will still be able to enjoy magnificent panoramas, especially if you don't have a problem with vertigo.
To the south of the Molare is a small peak (1,398.m, photo to the left), which can be reached fairly easily if you follow the route marked in black on the map and then climb up to the top facing the Molare. Anyone not fancying this will still be able to enjoy the view of Positano and the steep crags of the southern slopes of the Lattari, completely missed by so many people  when passing just a few metres away. 
You can get here via Campo del Pero (road) - Casa del Monaco - Conocchia or via the Santuario (road) - Acqua Santa - Molare. There is an infinity of trails, often winding,  which include the Conocchia- Molare ridge  and all of them are very varied and interesting.
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From Casa del Monaco
Molare
And now, over to me.This is another  trail well trodden by myself and again it is one that has its challenges. My favourite Faito loop takes you from the cable car station (unfortunately still out of action) through the woods to  Campo del Pero,  on to Casa del Monaco, Conocchia and Molare as above before returning to base via Acqua Santa and the Naples facing ridge beyond the church of San Michele. One of my favourite stretches is just after the Casa del Monaco, especially in springtime when it is full of flowers. As always, I prefer the climb up to the cross of Conocchia rather than  an eventual descent  since, as is often the case in our area, the path is rough and full of loose stones making it easy for you to lose your footing. The CAI trail running parallel to the ridge at the edge of the beech forest is a much easier option, but of course you miss out on a lot of the views. As for the Molare.. I usually sit it out at the bottom, since the path to the top is  very steep, narrow and rough underfoot, more suitable for goats. Again, better up than down, but here you have no choice: once up, you have to come down the same way. However, if you do not suffer from vertigo, do not let me put you off, since once up there you are on the roof of the world with a 360 degree panorama. As Giovanni suggests, it is also well worth venturing round the smaller mound in the photo. I have never clambered right up it, limiting myself to admiring Positano far, far down below.

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